Firefall Preview: The Mystery of Monetization Revealed

Firefall is damned ambitious. We’ve already explained what it is. We’ve also discussed the game’s impressive accommodation of eSports. But one very important piece of information has been missing until now, and that’s how Red 5 Studios is going to monetize this massive free-to-play behemoth.

The in-game store was launched today at PAX Prime (even though the game is still in beta), and through it, you’ll be able to buy cosmetic items, pets, XP boosts, and resource boosts. In our-hands on demo, we saw things such as masks, glasses, and a miniature, fire-spewing tiki pet. (Though pets follow you around, they are purely aesthetic entities with no bearing on you or the environment.)

Additionally, as part of the store launch, Red 5 Studios has introduced Founders Packages. Ranging from $15 to $100, they’ll grant bonuses as small as Red 5′s “eternal gratitude” to as large as a permanent 15% experience bonus. These packages will be available for a “limited time” after PAX, but you can purchase them at a 25% discount this weekend.

Of course, monetization of a free-to-play isn’t easy, but Firefall’s separation of PVP and PVE assures that balance won’t be an issue. If you’re concerned about wealthy (or at least more dedicated) players buying their way to the top and overpowering everyone else, you need not worry: PVP arenas – which, again, exist separately from the PVE world in Firefall – feature matchmaking mechanics that take into account your Battleframe tier, personal skill, and team skill. This means that you can remain stingy and still have a fun, fair competitive experience. Whether or not you can resist the urge to buy a steampunk monocle for your character, however, is another story…

You can request access to Firefall’s beta here.

Game Front is on-site at PAX Prime all weekend (Aug 31-Sep 2), bringing you daily news, hands-on previews, interviews and pictures. Stay tuned for more PC gaming-focused coverage!

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